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Pro-Palestine student protests spread to Nordic nations

Demonstrators in Sweden, Finland, and Denmark are demanding a boycott against Israel over the war in Gaza

A wave of university campus protests across Europe and the US expressing solidarity with Palestinians over the war in Gaza has now reached Nordic countries, according to media reports.

In Finland, dozens of protesters from the Students for Palestine solidarity group have reportedly erected an encampment outside the main building at the University of Helsinki. They are demanding that the institution cut ties with Israeli universities, including terminating all exchange student agreements and research cooperation.

According to the demonstrators, Israeli universities, particularly Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have been involved in developing weapons technologies used in Gaza and in training military personnel in cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Finnish higher education institutes should follow those in Norway, where five universities cut ties with Israel in February, protesters say. They have warned the demonstration will continue until their demands are met.

Students began a pro-Palestinian demonstration on the University of Helsinki campus#Gaza #Israel #CampusProtests #Finland https://t.co/PfmWqyVLD8

— Cohn-Kahn (@campsbay2000) May 6, 2024

In Denmark, students have also set up a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Copenhagen. About 45 tents were reportedly installed on the lawn outside the Faculty of Social Sciences campus.

The university said students could protest but called on them to respect the rules on campus grounds. “Seek dialogue, not conflict and make room for perspectives other than your own,” the administration stated on X (formerly Twitter).

The pro-Palestine group argued their attempts to talk to the administration over the past two years about withdrawing investments from Israeli companies have been in vain.

“We can no longer be satisfied with cautious dialogue that does not lead to concrete action,” the group stated on its Facebook page.

Pro-Palestinian groups are also expected to stage large demonstrations in Sweden’s third-largest city, Malmo, which is set to host the Eurovision Song Contest.

Sweden is reportedly tightening security ahead of the protests, giving police larger weapons and bringing in reinforcement officers from Denmark and Norway.

Demonstrations in Malmo are planned for May 9, when Israel will take part in the second Eurovision semi-final, and May 11, the day of the final. Protesters say they will challenge Israel’s participation in the contest. 


READ MORE: Calls for Israel to be booted from Eurovision

Eden Golan, the Israeli contestant, has been told not to leave her hotel room due to security concerns.

The reports on growing pro-Palestine protests come as Israeli tanks have entered the city of Rafah in southern Gaza to carry out “a precise counterterrorism operation” against Hamas militants.

Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7 last year, killing around 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostages. Israel immediately declared war on the militant group, having to date killed almost 35,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

 

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